By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News
The number of children living in poverty in Henry County increased from 16 percent to 18 percent, according to the 2018 County Health Rankings.
While Director of Healthy Henry County Communities (HHCC) Kelly Carr said that they don?t typically ?hang everything? on this data, it is the latest snapshot the county has of the overall health of its population.
While an increase in childhood poverty isn?t a gold star in Henry County?s crown, Carr also mentioned that obesity is down a percentage point, although the percentage of physical inactivity stayed the same at 24 percent.
As the HHCC board meeting got rolling Tuesday, April 3, board President Anita Hampton wanted to focus on what goes into making a community healthy, giving board members time to remind themselves what the mission of HHCC is.
Board member Bob Cardoni began the discussion by saying he defines a healthy community by accurately finding that there is no child abuse in the county.
Arin Jones, program coordinator for the Henry County Child Advocacy Council, continued that sentiment, saying a healthy community is when everyone feels like they belong and are connected through everyone being empathetic to other people?s situations in life. ?Then the people who are struggling can ask for help,? Jones said. ?We have a lot of great resources, but there?s a lot of barriers.?
Board members continued to take turns around the table discussing what their version of a healthy community looks like. Hampton said that for her, it is when all people from early childhood on have a sense of contribution to the community and can freely find happiness and purpose.
Carr said it aligns with HHCC?s mission statement: that Henry County would be a community where people want to be, live and move to.
Coordinator of Disability Services Sara Berndt responded that a healthy community is one where citizens feel safe in all environments, whether that?s their place of work, school or anywhere else in the community.
When it came time for board member Paul Dennison to chime in, he said that considering what makes a community healthy is a good opportunity to remind each other that it is each individual setting a healthy example for everyone else.
?We sit around and talk about it, but I know what I had for lunch,? Dennison said. ?It takes divine intervention to be completely healthy.?
Henry County Health Center dietitian Elise Klopfenstein added to Dennison?s train of thought, saying that a healthy community is individuals defining health for themselves rather than looking at some ?star gaze idea.?
Henry County Supervisor Gary See summarized everyone?s sentiment when he finished the conversation by saying, ?A healthy community is a community that continually strives for better. Period.?
The next HHCC meeting is Tuesday, May 1.